Christine and Jeff were married on a picture-perfect Charleston day at the sprawling Lowndes Grove Plantation. Having met at Furman University, the couple knew they wanted to be married in South Carolina, and held their wedding on Christine’s parents’ 40th wedding anniversary, August 5th. Though August is traditionally muggy and hot, a light summer rain left a breezy afternoon and beautiful sunset. A Charleston Bride worked with Christine and Jeff to create an elegant, unfussy, atmosphere with a timeless color palette of white, gold, blush, and touches of ivy. Palmetto Bloom designed arrangements in a mix of heights, making for a spectacular atmosphere in the tent, draped in swaths of white fabric with glimmering hanging chandeliers. The result is breathtaking! Adding a touch of color, bridesmaids donned floaty Amsale dresses, which beautifully complemented Christine’s Vera Wang gown and Jeff’s crisp white tuxedo jacket by Ralph Lauren. Absolutely smitten with each and every moment captured by Virgil Bunao!
How did you meet?
Jeff and I met at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina during my Senior year and Jeff’s Junior year. At the time, we were both living in the same apartment complex on campus, and were exactly two floors apart from each other. We kept casually running into each other, but we didn’t officially meet until Jeff’s fraternity’s yearly “Barn Party.” We hit it off and subsequently had our first date that night at the Traveler’s Rest Waffle House where we shared a plate of chocolate chip waffles and bacon. Shortly after, Jeff asked me on our first real date in downtown Greenville, and we started “officially” dating.
What is your proposal story?
Knowing it would be hard to surprise me, Jeff decided to propose when I’d be least expecting. On a run-of-the-mill Monday night after work, I walked into my tiny NYC apartment to find candles, flowers, and a bottle of champagne. Jeff walked out with a ring box and got down on one knee and proposed. It was intimate, natural, and sweet. We then went downtown to Charlie Bird, a classic NYC restaurant to celebrate our engagement. We called our parents and friends in the cab on the way to the restaurant, and when we got there, our parents and friends had already sent a bottle of champagne and dessert. It was a perfect New York night on an unsuspecting Monday. The next day, we flew out to Chapel Hill to celebrate with my family over the Thanksgiving holiday and stretched out the celebrations for a couple of days!
What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?
Our top priority throughout the planning process was ensuring that our guests would be happy and comfortable all night long. We really wanted everyone to have a genuinely fun time and enjoy the evening. As such, the band, the bar, and the ambiance were important to us. We wanted to make sure people would be dancing to the live music and that there wouldn’t be any lines at the bars. We wanted to do a black tie wedding and sit-down dinner, and at that time of year in Charleston, we felt much better about asking our friends to dress up in black tie attire if we knew we could keep them cool with air-conditioning. So after some back and forth, we decided to splurge on getting an air-conditioned tent, which in the end was definitely worth it.
What personal details did you incorporate into your wedding?
Specialty cocktails were a must – Jeff chose and Old Fashioned as the “Groom’s Drink” and I chose a “Greyhound” for the “Bride’s Drink” – we made sure to bring our go-to Natalie’s fresh squeezed grapefruit juice to make our favorite kind of Greyhounds. As a family tradition with Jeff’s family – we ended the night on stage with our family and an American flag while the band played, “God Bless America.” The whole room was chanting along as we sang on stage with both families. It was a wonderful way to end the night and bring the whole crowd together.
My sister and I both wore matching pearl rings that my grandmother gave us when we were little. The pearls come from my great-grandma’s pearl necklace. Instead of having to decide who to give the necklace to, my grandmother split it up and made it into pearl rings for all of her granddaughters. We have loved and worn these rings for special occasions ever since. I wore my sister-in-law’s veil that she wore when she got married in Charleston four years ago. After the wedding, my mother-in-law sewed in both of our initials to the veil. We hope to pass the veil down for future generations to wear on their wedding days! We included a table during cocktail hour that had pictures of our family’s weddings over the years including our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. This was a special touch and a great way to celebrate our family history on both sides.
Near the end of the night, we passed out light-up glasses, glow sticks, and Margarita flavored “boozy pops” on the dance floor to cool guests down and to keep the party going. As a North Carolina native, I have always loved Bojangles Chicken Filet Biscuits. As our guests boarded the buses to the after-party or hotel, we had Bojangles waiting for them for a late-night snack.
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
Enjoy the planning process and don’t sweat the small stuff. The whole process goes by quickly and everything works out in the end! If you can, definitely get a wedding planner to help make the process as seamless as possible. A Charleston Bride did an incredible job bringing our vision to life, taking the stress out of planning, and making sure the wedding day ran on-schedule. Try to get as much done before your wedding week so you can enjoy every minute with your closest family and friends!
- J.Lily Designs